Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Slight Back-peddle

Several things have happened since my last post. The first two were that I had time to look into the online freelancing platform a bit more and then I had my semi-annual appointment with my GP.

I read a lot of position offers. Really a lot. Several trends emerged.  Some of the requests seemed to be for people to make multiple comments on blog posts. I began to wonder if this is the origin of the spam comments I receive on recent posts as well as on really old ones on my now defunct previous blog. Some seemed to be compiling email lists for spamming. Then there were the proposals for jobs where the fee was really insulting. Then there were the insulting requests - "don't bother to reply unless you can do this exactly this way," said one. "Don't waste my time" barked another. Typos, misspellings and poor grammar were rife. I know that's the help some were requesting, but you'd think they could take a little time, but then again, time is money.

I went to see my Doctor on Monday.  We had a discussion about how difficult my readjustment to American  Life has been this time. We came to the conclusion that I've been mildly depressed. He made some suggestions that were helpful. I should be doing some regular exercise, eating more thoughtfully, making sure I'm getting enough sleep, and getting out and socializing a bit.

On Tuesday I got in touch with the principal of a local elementary school with whom I worked before my last Japan trip and asked if she could use any volunteer help. She jumped at the chance, and we had the application process finished in the matter of two days.

Today I went to meet with her and spent about four hours at the school doing odd jobs in the Kindergarten pod. This kind of work is instant gratification for someone like me.  I did copying, I did stapling, I did collating, I listened to children read to me.  I'll go back next week for more.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Things Are Hotting Up

It has been in the upper 80's several days this week.  The nights continue to be  cool and the humidity has only gotten a bit higher; but it's not just the temperatures. After months of spending mornings tidying up the house and afternoons reading, I find that I have successfully begun several diverse projects that I can drift between on the days I don't need to go out.
  • I have worked on a couple patterns for clothes for the summer that have turned out reasonably well. 
  • I have several bags and purses that I want to put together.  
  • I have my friendship quilt with the squares made by my Japanese quilting friends. 
  • Then there's the vintage double wedding ring to repair.  
  • I also have the bi-monthly work in fact-checking articles for Japan Harvest. 

This last bit of work influenced me to explore the world of freelance online writing and copy editing.  When I first looked into this industry I felt that I wouldn't have the qualifications to attract jobs.Through the registration process I took some tests for things like English grammar, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, even some British English tests.  It turns out that the years of incidental experience combined with education and natural bents has stood me in good stead for some special kinds of copy editing. I always enjoyed working with the Ichikawa Volunteer  Interpreters Society in taking their word by word translations of Japanese to English and smoothing them out to something that sounds more like the words of a native English speaker.

My first invitation to submit a proposal arrived today. A native Russian speaker with an online service wants just the kind of vetting of online materials that I could warm up to. I'm not fooling myself, there are plenty of others making proposals for the same job.  It's all good experience, and might supply some extra cash to keep the air conditioner running.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Summer's Here - probably

High temperatures for the coming week are all in the low 80's, summer weather for sure in many places I've visited. Here in south Florida I guess we would consider it just the beginning. There are usually a week or two of nights later on when the low temps overnight will be in the low 80's. So far, I have been able to open windows on all sides of the house and run a couple of fans to be comfortable.

The fabric arrived today to make the repairs on the antique quilt - the purple and natural print to replace the pieces that disintegrated.  I am still debating about the binding. There are those who think I must replace with the same color rather than changing to a more modern green. The jury is still out. Feel free to cast a vote with reasons if you like.

Last night I was totally shocked to see this quartet ambling around the church parking lot.  I thought for sure that given the attempt to cross the road the last time I saw them that their reckless behavior would have gotten at least one of them in serious trouble.

 I was becoming increasingly discouraged trying to make some new clothes that FIT, so I decided to make this bag.  It's from an Amy Butler pattern for an Overnight Bag and is being constructed with Amy Butler Midwest Modern fabrics. It's great to be able to sew accurately and smoothly with a sewing machine that has settings and power to accomplish the job without complaint.